How To Paint Aluminum? – 5 Pin Points (Illustrated) – Instructions

Aluminum has been used in the building sector for so long. Even while metal lends a contemporary appearance to the home by itself, some individuals desire to add color to it. But the most frequently asked query is, Can Aluminum Be Painted? , if so, how so?

Answer is yes, Aluminum can be painted, and the process is not too difficult. Unless you take the proper precautions and follow the proper processes.

As a result, I’ve covered everything I do for myself in this guide. Including the materials needed, the right procedures, and how to apply paint on metal for your clear understanding. So gear up to grasp a better understanding on how to perform the painting job. 

How To Paint Aluminum ?

Aluminum Paint Applications

Aluminum does not necessarily need to be shielded like other metals do. An aluminum oxide’s protective layer is immediately formed. If it is abraded, this layer frequently regenerates.

However, the optical quality of this layer is not very good. Its hue is a flat grey that doesn’t look attractive. Therefore, in a variety of circumstances, painting aluminum may be advantageous to improve the material’s aesthetic appeal.

In addition, processing with  paint is advantageous as when the non-ferrous metal such as aluminum is exposed to substances with a high pH level it can corrode. You should paint the metal if this is 8.5 or above.

Aluminum Paint Applications

The Difference Between Anodized And Non-Anodized Aluminum

Anodizing, also known as “anodic oxidising,” is the process of pre-treating aluminum’s surface. In this method, the material is coated with an oxide layer using an electrochemical technique. Instead of being applied from the outside, this is made from the aluminium that is utilised.

The benefit is that the material and its protective layer are more or less fused; the latter is incorporated into the aluminium and shields it from the inside as well as the outside. Depending on how the aluminium will be used, the layer thickness ranges from five to 25 micrometres. The greater the component will be stressed, the thicker the anodized coating should be.

Aluminum that has been anodized is incredibly corrosion and weather resistant. The material’s look is maintained for a longer period of time, and the longevity is really extended. Anodized metal requires meticulous surface preparation before painting. This is due to the protective oxide coating having to be completely ground off before anodized metal can be painted, for example by sandblasting. We will go into more depth about painting anodized metal in a later part.

The Difference Between Anodized And Non-Anodized Aluminum

Materials Required For Aluminum Painting

The following supplies are required for painting aluminum.

  • Sanding fleece and/or sandpaper
  • An appropriate degreaser, such as acetone, methylated spirits, or a cleaning product from the market
  • The color
  • Depending on the instrument you wish to use, a foam roller, brush, or spray gun

Setting Up The Project

1. To clean exposed metal, use a degreaser and warm water. A tub or bucket should be filled with warm water before being sprayed with a degreasing cleaner a few times. To clean the metal, dab a cloth in the solution. Dry the metal with a clean towel after washing it with plain water to get rid of any residue. In hardware stores, degreasers are sold. Dish soap is also another fantastic option.

2. To remove outdated paint, use a paint remover. The paint remover’s instructions should be followed because they may differ depending on the brand. Usually, a paint scraper is used to remove the solution after it has been put to the metal and let to set for a while.

  • To get rid of any paint remover residue, use a “after wash.” It is available at home improvement stores next to the paint strippers.
  • After that, rinse the surface with plain water and dry it with a fresh cloth.

3. Remove the rust using a wire brush, warm water, and degreaser. Warm water and a few pumps of degreaser should be applied to the metal. Scrape the rusty spots with a wire brush before cleaning the surface. After that, dry the area with a clean cloth.

  • You might also check for a rust removal solution at your local home improvement store.
  • Rust should not be left behind since it will prevent paint from bonding to the surface.

4. Put on protective goggles, gloves, and a dust mask. This is quite crucial. Sanding releases a large number of microscopic dust particles into the air. Metal sanding dust is definitely not something you want to inhale.

  • Dust masks are not all made equal. When shopping for a dust mask, ensure sure it is rated for sanding dust.

5.Use both coarse- and fine-grit sandpaper to polish the metal. Using 80- or 100-grit sandpaper and smooth, circular strokes, buff the whole surface. After using a tack cloth to remove the dust, polish the surface once more using 400-grit sandpaper.

  • On the second pass, you can use grit that is more coarse than 400
  • Follow up with 200- and 300-grit sandpaper before switching to 400-grit if the 80- or 100-grit sandpaper left deep gouges.
  • Giving the primer something to adhere to will be made easier by sanding the metal.

6. Rinse the surface once again with degreaser and warm water. A few pumps of a degreasing cleaner should then be added when you refill your tub or bucket with warm water. After cleaning the metal with this solution, rinse it with water once more. The metal should air-dry before continuing.

  • This is crucial because it will get rid of any sanding dust that might lead to paint flaws.
  • Alternately, you might use a tack cloth to clean the metal.

Surface Priming

1. Invest in a can of self-etching priming paint. Despite its “for metal” designation, conventional paint primer should not be used. The two are not equivalent. Instead, get a can of “self-etching primer” from an auto specialty shop or home improvement store.

2. Use masking tape to cover any parts you don’t want painted. When you need to mask off a sizable area, first cover it with paper or plastic sheets, then use masking tape to fix the edges.

  • As soon as the paint and/or sealant have dry, you may remove the masking tape and paper.

3. Look for a space with good ventilation to work in. Aluminum may be painted with a brush, but priming must be sprayed on beforehand. Paints and primers are packaged in aerosol cans, which can produce fumes that can make you feel dizzy and headache.

  • The greatest place to work would be outside. In case that isn’t possible, pick a big space with sufficient ventilation and open windows. You must use a respirator mask.
  • If it is rainy or damp outside, avoid painting because this might interfere with drying.

4. Spray the metal with a uniform layer of self-etching primer. Hold the can about 8 inches (20 cm) from the surface after shaking it for 30 to 60 seconds. Spray in overlapping motions to provide a thin, uniform layer. You may spray horizontally or vertically. To ensure that you are equally covering the surface, slightly overlap each stroke.

  • If your can contains a distinct set of directions for application, you have to adhere to those.
  • When dealing with an object that has several sides, wait until the first side is dry to the touch before priming the remaining sides.

5. Wait 15 minutes before applying a second layer of primer. To find out just how long you need wait before using a second coat, check the container once again. The majority of primers have “between coats” drying and curing times. For this, see to the “between coats” period.

  • Depending on the brand you choose, the primer may take a while to dry. You’ll often have to wait five to fifteen minutes

6. Apply 2 to 3 additional coats and allow the primer to set for about an hour. Check your container once again to see precisely how many coats of primer you should apply and how long you should let it cure. Most of the time, you’ll need 3 to 4 applications of primer and should let it an hour to cure.

  • Wait patiently for the primer to cure. The paint and priming may peel if you don’t wait long enough.
  • For more detailed information on curing periods, double-check the directions on the can.
  • Never forget to use light primer coats. This will aid in a proper cure. A heavy layer might cause the primer to get sticky or to just flake off.

7. If necessary, remove flaws with 400-grit sandpaper. Examine the primer closely once it has dried. If you approve with the result, you are prepared to continue. Use 400-grit sandpaper to softly buff the surface if it appears rough, pitted, or drippy.

  • Make careful to follow up by using a tack cloth to thoroughly clean the surface.
  • After that, check the masking tape again. Lay down fresh strips if the edges appear ragged and pull the old ones off.

The Painting Process

1. Purchase acrylic or latex paint. For the greatest results, choose paint with a matte or satin finish. Although glossy paint will work, it is not recommended since it will draw attention to any metal faults.

  • Because the primer has already been put, you may use any type of paint. An “for metal” marking is not necessary.
  • If you want to keep the object you’re painting outside, use a “outdoor” or “exterior” paint.
  • Spray paint is the most straightforward to apply, however brush-on paint may also be used.

2. Apply a thin, even layer of paint with a brush or sprayer. No matter what kind of paint you’re using—brush-on or spray-on—this is crucial. Use straight, overlapping strokes to apply the paint, just like you would the primer. Although they might be vertical or horizontal, they must all point in the same direction.

Use a flat, broad paintbrush made of synthetic fibres if you’re applying paint using a brush. Avoid using hard boar bristles or soft camel hair.

When using spray paint, shake the can for approximately one minute before holding it about 8 inches (20 cm) from the surface and spraying.

Start with the top and sides of an object that has several sides. Move to the bottom once the paint appears to be dry.

3. Allow the paint to cure for about 15 minutes before touching it. There are varied drying periods depending on the type of paint you use. Usually, you’ll just have to wait five to fifteen minutes. You don’t need to wait for this layer of paint to dry because you’ll be adding more coats.

  • Check the paint bottle again to ensure how long the paint should dry between coats.

4. Now apply three more coats of paint, and allow it some time in between to dry. You can then apply the second coat of paint as soon as you feel the paint from the first coat has dried out a bit. Also make sure to read the manufacturers guidelines from the paint bottle to see how many layers of pain can you apply. Also it will give you information about how long shall you wait in between layers to dry. 

5. Give the paint 24 to 72 hours to thoroughly dry and cure. Again, depending on the kind of paint you are using, this will take some time. You should adhere to the curing time if your paint can contains both a drying period and a curing time. It is too different to compare drying and curing. It can take 24 to 72 hours to complete this.

  • Something is not always dry on the inside just because it seems dry to the touch. You can be certain that paint is completely dry once it has dried.
  • Peel the masking tape off right away if you want the unpainted metal to have the same finish as the painted metal.

6. After allowing each layer to dry, apply 2 to 4 coats of clear enamel. Apply overlapping, light layers similar to how you would with paint. Before adding the next layer, let the previous coat to feel completely dry. The amount of time required varies on the type of enamel being used.

  • Apply enamel by spraying it on similarly to how you would spray-on primer and paint.
  • Use a synthetic-bristle brush to apply the enamel in straight, overlapping strokes.
  • Matte, satin, and glossy finishes are available for enamel. Choose your favorite, but keep in mind that glossy finishes may highlight flaws more.

7. Give the enamel 24 to 72 hours to fully cure. Read the directions on the container to find out how long you should wait as each brand of enamel is unique. If you had left the masking tape in place, give the sealer time to dry and cure before removing it.

  • Use the item when the enamel has completed drying to avoid having sticky enamel.

Advice On The Safety Of Aluminum Paint

Working with paints, adhesives, and varnishes is often risky. Consider your own safety carefully. You should have the following items in your equipment:

  • Clothes with long sleeves
  • An oxygen mask
  • Security glasses
  • Gloves that are disposable, preferably composed of nitrile

Working outside is also the finest option. If it can’t be done, make sure your place is well ventilated. Sometimes the painted things still require evaporation to get rid of their foul smell. Maintain enough ventilation throughout this time as well.

Your eyes and mucous membranes shouldn’t ever come into touch with the varnishes utilized. If this does occur, wash the area well right away and then see a doctor right once. To learn more about the substances and begin the best course of therapy, show him the data sheet.

Questions And Answers

This is dependent on how the aluminum component is used. A one-component aluminum paint is suggested for high-quality look and lesser tension. But two-component paint should be used for strong stresses.

A specialized aluminum primer is advised for priming metal. Even after sanding, a universal primer would not cling properly to the metal.

There are several methods for doing this. Aluminum can be primed, painted, or powder coated in addition to being anodized (even in any color). This frequently relies on how the aluminum component is going to be used.

Aluminum rims are treated in the same manner as other aluminum parts, in theory. It’s crucial to prepare the surface carefully and wait until the last layer of paint is fully dry before applying the subsequent coat. Furthermore, rim damage deeper than two millimeters cannot be repaired; instead, the rims must be disposed of since they pose a danger to the driver.

Yes, Aluminum can be powder coated. This option offers exceptionally high-quality defense against chemical, environmental, and mechanical impacts, in addition to aluminum painting and anodizing.


As you have likely already read, painting aluminum is not difficult. You only need to be aware of the procedures and stages and adhere to them. The painting task doesn’t require any specialized skills on your part. Anyone can complete it. Additionally, you may save a few bucks if you do it yourself. However, because paint includes chemicals, it should always be handled carefully. Take it step by step since this project simply demands patience from you, and the results are fantastic if you do.